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Vet School Personal Statement: How to Write + Examples

December 19, 2022
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How to Write a Personal Statement for Vet SchoolVet School Personal Statement ExamplesFAQs: Personal Statement for Vet School

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/13/22

Writing your personal statement for vet school is no easy feat, but we’ve got you covered! Follow along for expert tips and successful examples of vet school personal statements.

When it comes to your vet school application, your personal statement can hold a lot of weight. This essay is your first opportunity to demonstrate your personality, and why you would be an excellent candidate beyond your grades. For some, an excellent personal statement can even help to make up for low grades or test scores - so it’s certainly important to get it right.

Luckily, we’ve compiled our best tips and successful vet school personal statement examples to help you through the process. We’ll go over tips from our experts on how to write a stand-out essay, examine each of our essay samples, and explain what made them successful. 

If you’re currently applying for vet school and are looking for assistance on any part of the application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced admissions advisors at any time. 

Let’s get started!

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How to Write a Personal Statement for Vet School

Here are some of our top tips to consider when writing a personal statement for vet school.

Write Now, Edit Later

In most writing scenarios, getting started is the hardest part. The best way to relieve that stress is to simply start writing and keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it can be longer or shorter than the word count initially. The purpose of this method is to pull out all the information and review it later on.

Try writing out your entire story, front to back, of how you grew up and developed an interest in vet school. Make sure to include two to three relevant work experiences. Once you have nothing left to say, take a look at what you’ve written and highlight the best, most relevant parts. Then, you can begin editing backwards and pull out all of your best ideas. 

Consider Your Unique Perspective

Your story, no matter what it is, has value. Vet schools are competitive and your admissions committee will see hundreds of applications. Finding a way to frame your unique perspective in your personal statement can help to create a memorable essay that will leave a lasting impression on readers. 

Consider your hometown, culture, family, passions, etc. Some students compare their passion for learning a challenging skill like playing the piano to the commitment and dedication required for vet school. There are no wrong answers here, as long as you can connect what makes you unique to your work experiences and why you would be an excellent vet school candidate. 

Revise, Revise, Revise!

It may sound obvious, but there has never been a more important time to revise an essay over and over again. Remember, vet school is competitive. Something as small as a spelling mistake or a grammatical error could make the difference between getting in or not. 

Run your work by your teachers, family, and friends for revisions - not rewrites! Every word should sound like something you would authentically say. You should have others help you edit, but ensure the paper still sounds like you.

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Vet School Personal Statement Examples

Here are three excellent examples of vet school personal statements. Below each example, look out for our explanations of why the essay was successful. 

1. Example From the Veterinary School at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

“Living with my single mother, a nurse who often works over 60 hours a week to support my family, has taught me the value of hard work. From her, I have learned to be passionate and meticulous in all the work that I do. She instilled in me the need to constantly stay busy and involved. I thrive in an environment that challenges me and requires quick thinking. Due to the influence of my mother, I have developed a strong perseverance and sense of determination. My parents’ divorce kept me in a changing environment growing up–I had to adapt to a variety of living situations with little finances to support us. From this, I acquired the skills of being thrifty and knowing how to make sacrifices. 

The characteristics I have developed through my home environment growing up made me into an ideal candidate for vet school and a future veterinarian – a person who is passionate and dedicated to their work, but who also can cope with a fast-paced environment and problematic situations. For the past seven years, I have applied these qualities to volunteering and caring for animals, developing my interest in veterinary medicine further. 

When I was thirteen, I volunteered at Birmingham Zoo in Alabama. A large part of my role there included guest education about the animals on exhibit, usually using artifacts such as animal hides and skulls to explain various topics. I worked mainly in the lorikeet exhibit, where I stayed in the exhibit with the birds while guests walked through. My jobs were to watch over the interactions between the birds and the guests, as well as to educate the guests about the birds. From working there, I realized that I really liked getting to educate people about animals, a large portion of the job of a veterinarian. 

The most influential experience I’ve had on my decision to become a veterinarian was working at Elk Grove Pet Clinic. I have been a kennel attendant there since 2007, where my job is to take care of all the in-house pets, care for the boarding animals, assist in appointments, give medications, and help with the cleaning of the clinic. I have observed numerous surgeries, including routine spay and neuter surgeries, but also more unusual surgeries such as a 6 pound tumor removal from a dog and a surgery on the clinic’s ferret to remove tumors from his pancreas. I have handled and cared for not only cats and dogs, but also macaws, cockatoos, snakes, ferrets, chinchillas, and tortoises. Through working there, I had the opportunity to observe the duties of a private practice vet and see how they normally handle appointments, surgeries, and client communication in difficult situations. I have observed the doctor discussing with clients care options and the possibility of euthanasia, as well as assisted in euthanasia. 

I have also assisted during emergencies, such as immediate care for a dog hit by a car. Through working at Elk Grove Pet Clinic, I have seen the responsibilities of a vet in caring for an animal in appointments and emergencies, as well as the importance of educating and discussing options with the pet owners. I spent my junior year of college interning at the Champaign County Humane Society. I did an Animal Care Internship in the fall and a Medical/Lab Internship in the spring. The Medical/Lab Internship reaffirmed my decision of wanting to go to veterinary school. 

While interning, I was able to gain experience performing physical exams, drawing blood, giving treatments and medications, restraining animals, microchipping animals, trimming nails, and learning what signs to look for in a sick animal. I learned how to make and read an ear cytology slide, as well as how to tell if an animal has a bacterial ear infection or ear mites. The animals that I worked with were mainly cats and dogs, but also included guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, chinchillas, and bearded dragons. I was able to compare the duties of a shelter veterinarian and a private practice veterinarian, which varied due to the financial constraints of a shelter and the fact that the animals in the shelter do not have owners for the veterinarian to consult with. 

Through my internships, I learned how much I enjoy doing physical exams, finding out what is wrong with an animal, and learning how to treat it. As a veterinarian, I would be able to apply all of these experiences by working in a science that is continually advancing, while contributing to the field through research and public education. The skills that I have developed and the knowledge I have gained through working with animals have strengthened my interest in veterinary medicine. Overall, my experiences with animals, my profound passion for science, and the characteristics I have developed through my home environment have shaped me into an excellent candidate for veterinary school.” 

Why this essay works:

In this example, the student begins by connecting their passion for vet school to her childhood experiences. The applicant then goes on to list their valuable experience to demonstrate a continued investment in their chosen career path. They conclude by summarizing their writing - mentioning their passions for animals, science, and experience all as reasons to accept them into the program. 

This essay is strong over all; however, it lacks a bit of reading flow. While it’s good to remind the admissions committee of your achievements and how they helped you grow, keep in mind that they’ve already seen these accomplishments on your CV. Your personal statement should be focused on telling your story rather than simply listing your achievements. Still, this student wrote a successful essay. 

2. Example from the University College Dublin’s Veterinary Medicine Program (Graduate) 

“From an early age, it was clear to me that my career path would involve working with animals in a clinical context, as I have always had a passion for science, animal health, and welfare. My first exposure to the veterinary clinical environment was through a high school program, which provided me with the insight into how rewarding and fulfilling it was to be able to use scientific knowledge in order to diagnose, treat, prevent and ideally cure diseases. This has led me to study Biochemistry for my undergraduate degree, as I wanted to have a solid basis for a comprehensive understanding of the metabolism and function of animals in health and disease.

During my postgraduate studies, I had conducted a one-year research project working with Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agents for African Trypanosomiasis, an infectious disease of wild and domestic animals and humans of sub-Saharan Africa. As African Trypanosomiasis is a zoonotic disease, this research experience had introduced me to the ‘One Health’ transdisciplinary approach and increased my awareness of the intricate relationship between human and animal health. I have developed a strong appreciation on the importance of both veterinarians and human health professionals working together in order to detect, prevent and control disease outbreaks, as well as the key role that veterinarians play in the bigger picture of society.

My latest internship at a companion animal veterinary clinic has taught me the importance of high-quality animal care and optimal health maintenance by providing routine treatments and the appropriate vaccinations. I thoroughly enjoyed working in a veterinary clinical setting, from communicating with the clients to determine the animal’s medical history, aiding during the clinical examinations, using the various laboratory equipment for diagnostics, to the hands-on component of the job such as dental cleaning and assisting during surgical procedures.

I want to become a veterinarian because I am dedicated to improving public health goals and outcomes by assessing, investigating and managing animal health and zoonotic disease risks. I will enjoy collaborating with other veterinarians and various health professionals, such as epidemiologists and pathologists, to understand and identify new and emerging diseases and control them, reducing the time they circulate in the animal population. Working as a public health veterinarian would also involve protecting the welfare of animals by ensuring that the standards of animal-keeping are met. This would ensure that the animals, especially livestock, would be healthy, and diseases that could have repercussions on human health will be reduced as much as possible. In this regard, I would also like to foster better collaboration with human health professionals so that future interdisciplinary public health issues can be tackled more efficiently.

I believe that my educational background and experience have prepared me well for a veterinary medicine program and I would be honoured to be able to attend the University College Dublin’s Veterinary Medicine (Graduate Entry) program to pursue my career as a veterinarian.”

Why this essay works:

This applicant displays a passion for veterinary medicine through their unique initiatives and career experiences. Something unique that this student focuses on in their personal statement is how they intend to improve the world of veterinary medicine in the future. 

This is an excellent perspective to present in your personal statement! Consider the specific shortcomings you’ve noticed in the field of veterinary medicine and how you intend to improve upon those areas. It’s not essential if you don’t have any ideas, but it looks great on an application. 

3. Example from the University of Scranton 

“Ever since I can remember I have always had a passion for animals. Their beauty and ability to comfort me are only outmatched by their honesty, loyalty and faithfulness. My path to realizing that my true calling lies in veterinary medicine began when I took a life biology course in high school. In this course I realized my intrigue with animals went far beyond their cute and cuddly parts. I was interested in how they worked from the inside and realized that I should be their doctor. Ever since that first high school class I have focused my educational path in pursuit of becoming a veterinarian. I have volunteered at animal shelters, worked in clinics, shadowed veterinarians and participated in basic science research.

Now that I stand at the doorstep of college graduation I cannot imagine my life if I do not attend veterinary school. I shadowed my veterinarian Dr. Henry Nebzydoski and was amazed by his precision, immense knowledge and skill. I learned that in medicine many things can go wrong in a situation, but there are also many ways to solve problems. I loved being able to meet clients whose love for their pets was apparent. That love between an animal and its owner drew me further into the love of veterinary medicine. This shared compassion and love for animals helped me relate to clients. Volunteering at local shelters, I gained more perspective on a career as a veterinarian. I learned how to care for abused and homeless animals and to let go of the animals I had grown to love when it was in their best interest.

While shadowing Dr. Michelle Falzone, I observed that each veterinary practice was different. Doctors bring their own personality to make each experience unique; it is never just a routine doctor's visit. I believe that I, too, will bring individuality to the field of veterinary medicine that will benefit my clients. I obtained a job at an emergency animal hospital where the number of patients and the variety of problems presented was vastly different from daytime practices. Veterinarians have to work under time constraints and I learned about the hard choices a family often makes. At first, I thought the patient-doctor bond was absent in these cases, but the doctors make sure the connection is still present by spending time talking to clients and personally calling them to disclose test results. I learn a great deal everyday at the emergency clinic, such as filling medications, diagnosing symptoms and caring for patients and animals in difficult situations.

Seeing many prognoses, I learned that there is hope for even the worst one and that a doctor's optimism is important. Most importantly this experience taught me the value of communication skills in veterinary medicine. I have to explain procedures and calm down many patients in order to be able to understand the problems involved with their pets. I will never forget the first time I watched a pet euthanized. Distraught, I thought for a time I would refuse to perform euthanasia in my practice. As I took in more of the doctor-patient interactions, I realized this would not be fair. The bond between a veterinarian and a pet owner becomes very important and is needed throughout the animal's life. The doctor, who has been there throughout the good and difficult times, needs to be there for the owner and the pet when the only choice left is to end the suffering of the animal.

For more than a year I have been interning at The Commonwealth Medical College. I am conducting a research study with Dr. John Arnott on the expression of connective tissue growth factor in osteoblasts. This experience provided me with new insights into the importance of the basic sciences and I have developed great respect for their study and place in clinical medicine. More than anything scientific research has taught me humility and that success requires tenacity. This experience has helped me grow as an individual and to find that I am capable of doing things I never dreamed. With my help, we are one step closer to figuring out the steps in the cellular pathway to bone growth and thus are closer to potentially identifying molecules that will enhance bone growth.

Veterinary medicine is a love of the science used to care for and treat animals. This coincides with the compassion for and communication with pet owners. As these animals are unable to communicate as a human might, veterinarians become dependent on the owner's ability to detect and describe problems. This challenge continues to fascinate me and I look forward to devoting my life to the field of veterinary science. Becoming a veterinarian began as a dream many years ago for me, and is now close to a reality. My dream has always been a simple one - to pursue a love I have harbored since a youth, carrying it from a fascination and love of animals, to creating a successful veterinary practice. I am ready for the next step to fulfill this dream.”

Why this essay works: 

This essay is the most successful example we’ve shown so far due to its readability. Notice how the applicant includes descriptive language when they mention their previous experiences. They present their personal statement as a cohesive, flowing story starting from when they first became interested in veterinary medicine to now. It’s simple, compelling, honest, and - perhaps most importantly - easy to read.

FAQs: Personal Statement for Vet School

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about personal statements for vet school.

1. What Should A Vet School Personal Statement Include?

Your vet school personal statement should describe how your passion for veterinary medicine began and two to three experiences you’ve had that demonstrate how you’ve improved upon that passion. It should flow nicely, be easy to read, and conclude by reinstating your passion for the profession and how you intend to improve the field. 

2. How Long Is A Personal Statement For Vet School?

Personal statements for vet school are typically one page or 3,000 words in length. However, schools will often give you specific parameters for your essay. Pay close attention to the prompts that are given to you throughout your application process. 

3. How Do You End A Vet School Personal Statement?

There are several ways to successfully end a vet school personal statement. You should always reinstate your passion for veterinary medicine, and end on a high note. If you have a specific way you intend to improve the field of veterinary medicine in the future, the end of your personal statement is an excellent place to state your intentions.

Final Thoughts

Your vet school personal statement should be thoughtful, heartfelt, and informative. You should make sure that your story is easy to read by using descriptive language and lining up the highlights of your work experience in order. 

Consider your unique perspective. Remember, these programs are competitive. Putting your unique twist on your essay will help you stand out from the pack and remain in the minds of the admissions committee. 

Good luck!

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